Do Business Blogs Chase the Wrong Metrics?

How to Blog For Business: 12 Blog Goals and Metrics

Business blogs chase comments like other types of bloggers, based on Blog2Post’s Corporate Blog Survey. They overlook the fact that most of their readers lurk and less than 10% of their readers will ever leave a trace of their activity in the form of a social share or written comment. Further, closer examination of highly commented upon blogs reveals that a significant proportion of the comments are made by the blogger and that many may just say “Great post”. Despite this, comments are blogging nirvana and CMOs are no different. Marketers view comments as an easy metric to track whether their community is engaged.

By focusing on comments, marketers are forgetting to set a business blog strategy based on their business goals and determining appropriate metrics as they do with other forms of social media. As Mack Collier points out, bloggers, like marketers, should focus on getting the “right” traffic for their blog in order to drive them to the desired actions.

12 Corporate Blog Goals and Related Metrics

Here are twelve business goals that blogs can help achieve and the related metrics.

  1. Build brand. Use your blog to show consumers another side of your brand. Extend your brand’s personality in your blog and engage your readers. Metrics: Improved brand recall and favorability.
  2. Provide product information. Blogs have space to describe products, particularly complex ones in detail. Here’s where your products can take center stage and be portrayed favorably. Recent research showed that customers knew more about products than retail clerks. Metrics: Views, print outs, promotion codes and click-throughs to purchase or place in cart.
  3. Support product usage. Show customers how to put your products together and utilize them better. This is particularly important for technology-related goods where some segments of customers may be nervous about what they’re doing. It’s also useful for giving consumers options for employing your offering such as cooking recipes and crafting patterns; these can help to sell the product as well, so include shopping lists and links to your products. Metrics: Views, time on site, downloads with instructions and patterns, printouts, and click-throughs to products.
  4. Answer customer questions. Provide an easy-to-access forum to respond to common customer inquiries as a helpful, time-saver for customers who prefer to seek answers on their own. Have customers rate the responses to improve the content. Additionally, this channel can be used to source new questions, so make sure that you check email and comment input on a regular basis. Metrics: Views, time on section, lower customer complaints, reduced customer service expense, and new questions asked.
  5. Improve search optimization ranking. Since blogs are naturally optimized for search, they’re very useful for improving your firm’s ranking in the search engines. Integrate the blog into your main website, write posts focused on keywords, and build links both internally and externally to other related resources. Metrics: Improved search rankings and reduced search optimization expense.
  6. Build social media outpost. As an on-going source of content under your company’s control, blogs should be at the heart of any integrated social media plan since they provide new, fresh material to fuel social conversations. Metrics: Views, time on site, and social media shares. Also, monitor earned media from social shares.
  7. Distribute content. From executive keynotes to corporate research, blogs can showcase a variety of content formats including text, photographs, video, audio, presentations, and e-books. In addition, blogs enable companies to associate text for search optimization with non-text formats. Via RSS and email, blogs also distribute content on a regular basis. Metrics: Views, downloads, RSS and email subscriptions, and social media shares.
  8. Build community. Get prospects, customers and the public to share commentary, photographs and videos of your product in context. This adds content to your blog while spotlighting your social media clan. Metrics: Number of pieces of user generated content, views, time spent, votes (if appropriate) and comments.
  9. Distribute promotions. Like other media formats, a blog can deliver special deals and advertising. Use a unique promotional code to track your results. The most notable example of this is Woot.com that offers one product a day for twenty-four hours. Metrics: Number of products purchased.
  10. Spotlight employees. Customers buy from people they know. Get employees across your organization to participate and tell their story so that consumers can relate to them. Include a photograph and short biography of each blogger to give readers a sense of your team. Metrics: Increased sales and improved employee morale.
  11. Supply executive platform. Many corporations use blogs as senior management podium. Similarly, it can spotlight an internal expert. In addition to opinions, the executive can share presentations and short videos. These can be useful for internal distribution as well. Metrics: Views, time on site, social shares and media links to the blog.
  12. Offer entertainment. Create content, especially in a video or game format that entertains your target market. Remember soap operas were created to sell detergent! Metrics: Views, brand sentiment, time on site, social shares and comments.

While corporate blogging is viewed as a cost of doing business, marketers should insist that these platforms help achieve business targets. It seems like good business sense, so why aren’t more corporate blogs tracking factors that support the sales process?

What are your firm’s corporate blog goals and what success metrics do you use? Are there other objectives and/or metrics that should be added to this list?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit: Pjan Vandaele via Flickr

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  • http://www.marketing-partners.com Pat Heffernan

    Heidi — This is a great list of potential objectives and relevant metrics for B2C marketers. We find that your #11, executive platform/thought leader, is the most common objective for B2B companies, especially manufacturers. To discourage using number of comments received as a metric, I often ask executives targeting others at their level if they have ever commented on a blog — that usually crystallizes the folly of that metric. Would be interesting to know if there are exceptions in B2B to the 10% who comment statistic outside the media/marketing/communications world. Have you seen any?

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Pat–

      I love the idea of quizzing executives regarding their commenting habits. Even among those who blog and/or read blogs, I doubt many take the time to comment.

      With regard to how many people actively participate on social media (of which blogs are part), it breaks down into 90% don’t take any action, 9% will take a small action such as socially share or comment and 1% will create content which can include comments. It’s important to realize that readers may share the blog post on Twitter or Facebook because it’s easier and reflects on them to their tribe.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.jpluna.com Jesse Luna

    Thanks for sharing this post, Heidi.

    I think it’s important to distinguish between goals and tactics. For example, I’d call “Offering Entertainment” a tactic. If one goal is to increase brand awareness then a tactic would be to engage visitors with entertaining content. This is an important distinction because there are a lot of people doing things with social media but don’t see the results. The problem is that they are too focused on the tactics without knowing why they are doing them.

    I would also add “Generating Sales” as a goal. Not all businesses can generate sales or choose to focus on that aspect, but for some it’s a critical part of their business strategy.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Jesse–Good point. Many companies jump in and start with tactics without considering the strategies.

      I agree that generate sales is an important goal. I broke it out as supporting products and providing post purchase information.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.dougbrock.com Doug Brock

    Just found the post through #BlogChat. Have a few people I need to share this with. Your points # 2,3,&4 are increasingly relevant the more complicated or specialized a product is. I think with technology companies it is easier to pull off a little humor and entertainment as you mention in point #12 on a blog than any other place on the web. Humor on the wrong page is just the drunk at the dinner table. You can get away with a bit more on a blog post. Thanks for the list.